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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Feb 24, 2009 8:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Hartford '77??

77 was the beginning of the end. All roads rise to it and all roads fall away from it. No other tour came close in terms of pure musicianship to Spring 77 except perhaps Europe 72.

It was not only the pinnacle of their "ensemble" live playing, but also reflected the end of the best songwriting. Terrapin was the last worthwhile studio effort, anything after pales in comparison. The vast majority of the touring catalog stemmed from songs written prior to Shakedown.

This doesn't mean that the band wasn't capable of stirring it up post 77, just that IMO they never reached that point of perfection again. After 82 it was a coin toss to see whether you'd have a great show or not, after 87 it didn't ache so bad to just stay home and wait for the tapes.

It's funny that those that argue the hardest promoting the latter years more often than not don't have the same reference points to base their arguments. The 80's shows are their frame of reference and what came before really lies outside their ability to pass judgment.

I didn't have the opportunity to see the early incarnation of the band. As such, I do my best to avoid debating the relative merits of 66-71 with the likes of Tell and Cliff. I don't have the experience that would make my opinions stack up. But having attended the great majority of my shows between 72 and 79, I'm pretty comfortable with the opinions I developed about that time frame.

As for the latter years, all you have to do is listen, the evidence speaks for itself. Sometimes great, sometimes not so. Sometimes painful.

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Poster: Edsel Date: Feb 24, 2009 11:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Hartford '77??

"After 82 it was a coin toss to see whether you'd have a great show or not."

That's the way it always was.